Syndication Hit By Torino


The Olympics may not have done a great number for the NBC network, but they helped do a number on syndicated shows.

Nielsen's national live-plus-same-day syndicated ratings for most daytime syndicated shows didn't make the podium in the week ending Feb. 19, which included the second full-week of the sweep.

Numerous strips were hurt by competition from the first full week of the Winter Olympics on cable and the internet, and more directly by preemptions from broadcast coverage of the games.

Access and early fringe shows particularly suffered from preemptions on NBC affiliates for that network's localized 7:30 pre-coverage Olympic Zone specials.

No daytime talkers were able to improve their rating from the week before, with the exception of Tony Danza, which bucked the downhill trend with a 9% increase week-to-week to a 1.2. That was down only a tenth of a rating point down from last year at the same time. The show improved despite being preempted all week in a couple of markets, including number 11, Detroit.

Danza's bump was due in part to help from another talk name. The show, which could have been nicknamed Tony & Kathie Lee scored its second-highest-rating of the season Feb. 17 for an interview with former daytime talk star Kathie Lee Gifford. The episode averaged a 1.4, up 36% from the week before.

Other than that, the talkers were quiet, at least in the ratings.

Montel Williams matched his lowest rating since the show's 1992 launch, down 18% to a 1.8 and down 28% from last year, the biggest year-to-year decline of any talker for the week. Montel lost five metered markets due to the Olympics, though none in the top 20.

The top talk show, Oprah, recorded its lowest rating in five weeks, down 12% to a 6.9 and down 16% from last year at this time. Oprah was preempted in four metered markets, but none in the top 20.

Dr. Phil's rating was relatively unaffected by preemptions. The only place the doctor wasn't in was Baltimore.

Phil averaged a 5.3, down 9% for the week and down 5% from the year before. In third, Live With Regis & Kelly was only down 3% to a 3.6, despite preemptions in a couple of markets. It held even with last year. Maury didn't lose any metered markets, but was down 3% to a 2.9, and down 9% from last year. Ellen DeGeneres rounded out the top five, down 4% to a 2.5 after being moved or preempted in 14 metered markets. But she was up 9% from the same time last year.

Rookie talkers Martha at a 1.8 and Tyra Banks at a 1.7, managed to hold steady despite three preemptions apiece, though Banks had the edge in key female demos.

Elsewhere in daytime, most court shows continued their downhill trek, with four of the top five showing year-to-year declines.

Judge Judy dropped to her lowest rating in seven weeks, down 6% to a 4.8 and down 9% from last year. Judy was preempted in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Judge Joe Brown, which didn't lose any metered markets, slipped to his lowest ratings in eight weeks, down 6% to a 3.1 and down 14% from the same week last year.

People's Court was down 3% to a 2.9, but up 7% from last year. It lost three mid-sized markets to preemption.

Divorce Court was largely unaffected by the games, losing only Jacksonville, and was up 4% to a 2.8, though down 3% from a year ago. Judge Mathis, which didn't lose any metered markets, was down 4% week to week and year to year to a 2.5. Rookie Judge Alex, another court show that didn't lose any metered markets, was unchanged at a 2.3.

Most access shows had so many preemptions that ratings comparisons are not meaningful. In the most extreme case, Extra's ratings were not even included because of massive preemptions (if you lose more than 10% of your coverage, Nielsen does not include it in the average).